The rate of cardiovascular disease suffered by both rural and urban Chinese males is almost indistinguishable from the rate experienced by American males, while the rates…for both rural and urban Chinese women is significantly higher than those suffered by American females….The notion that the Chinese don’t have disease of the heart…is what we like to call a vampire myth–it simply refuses to die.
–Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades
They go on to explain that part of the issue leading to confusion is that heart disease normally manifests as stroke in the Chinese, but as heart attack in Americans. A city-dwelling Chinese man only has half the heart attack risk of his American comrade–but six times the stroke risk. The underlying cause is exactly the same: coronary heart disease.
That’s what you get when you eat a diet based first on refined grains first, then vegetables, then fruit, then meat and fat, with lots of sugar. Because you’re too poor, or even too cheap (rural and many urban Chinese), to purchase anything but the cheapest industrial seed oils, rice, and vegetables, or too misguided.
Existing is tough sometimes. Because it is, there are times when you just can’t afford to eat the way you might want, even if you have the all the knowledge in the world. Sometimes, we can’t see a way to afford anything but grain. We have to ingest some calories, and those are by far the cheapest.
You know what? That’s ok. Sometimes life happens. I’m here to encourage you, though: Don’t Give Up the Fat. Maybe you can’t afford the meat. Ok. Maybe right now all you can afford is day-old bread that’s on sale. Ok. However, the temptation is to also give up on the animal fat. This might be price, it might be lingering innate fear of fat, it might be the opiate effect of carbohydrates making you want more and more carbohydrates. I just want to give you some good reasons to never give up on the animal fat.
1. The fat isn’t as expensive as meat. You you need less of it to get you full than carbohydrates, and you will stay full longer off it. A breakfast of bulletproof coffee is more sustaining and much better for you than cereal, for even less money. If you can’t stand butter coffee, try the heaviest cream you can find.
2. The fat will fill you up and keep you full longer. If you can eat the fat first, you’ll eat less grain total and feel like gorging less often.
3. The fat will help protect you from blood sugar surges. It’s not magic, but it does slow the absorption of glucose. Get a good balance going and you might be able to keep your blood sugar on a gentle kiddie ride at the boardwalk instead of riding the monster coaster at Six Flags. Steady blood sugar is good: constant surges and crashes are just disease, dementia, and emotional breakdowns waiting to happen.
4. You have to eat SOME fat. Make it animal. Don’t give up butter and lard for Crisco and margarine.
5. This is the wisdom of your ancestors. Every society has them: carb-laden dishes that are basically poverty foods, but are still loved today. Grits, porridge (gruel), draniki (potato pancakes), pasta, tortillas. What’s also interesting is that we have experienced a revival in popularity of many of these dishes–but in modified, low-fat form. The usual delusion is to believe that our wise ancestors based their diets around these foods because they recognized them as healthier than meat and fat.
Then we say “But, we could be even HEALTHIER if we took those pesky remnants of fat out of them! Or at least replaced them with toxic oils and chemical shortenings!” The reality is that our ancestors based their diets around these foods because most of them could afford no better. The reality is that once you remove all the eggs and butter from the flatbread and don’t eat it with fat-dense curries, you can suddenly eat ten where the people who invented it centuries ago would only eat one or two.
Folks, Southern grits and English porridge, Italian pasta and Aztec tortillas, Russian draniki and Irish potatoes were not invented because wheat, corn, and potatoes are the most healthy and nutritious parts of the human diet. All those dishes were ways for deeply impoverished people to avoid starvation and death by stretching important, expensive, and essential fat, meat, and eggs into enough food to feed the family.
Draniki is six shredded potatoes mixed with one shredded onion, eggs, salt, and sour cream. Spices or minced meat might be added, according to taste. Then you fry it in butter. If you go online you can find Russians and Ukrainians complaining that real draniki or deruny shouldn’t have flour, even though all the modern recipes call for it.
Modern cooks have “improved” the recipe by removing those high cholesterol eggs, forcing them to use flour to keep it together. When I made some of these and served them to some Russian friends at Christmas, I offered it with sour yogurt. The two of them ate nearly 14oz of yogurt by themselves on top of these things, with the wife drawling: “Yust like Rrrrrrussian crema…” That’s the way you’re supposed to eat these things.
The dish known as “Irish Potatoes,” or often scalloped potatoes in the USA, is traditionally made with about six potatoes, a half cup of butter, and a whole pint of cream. Then you cover it in cheese if you have it. Modern recipes use low fat cheese, margarine, and fat free milk for about 24 grams of useless carbs to 4.4 grams of the fat your body so desperately needs. In our low fat delusion, we’ve got articles on the internet about the potato as the Irish “superfood.” No, people. The Irish ate potatoes because it was potatoes or death: not because they firmly believed potatoes were a superfood.
Of course potatoes have nutrition, sure. But potatoes are not a superfood and are not enough by themselves: if they were, those same nutrition idiots would be telling you it’s fine to eat french fries all day long, as you eat the kind with skins fried in “healthy” oil. But none of them to. All the old Irish recipes tell you why: Dublin Coddle is potatoes with big sausages, bacon, and onions. Champ is basically scalloped potatoes in mashed potato form. Potato soup is tons of healthy, fat-laden bone broth stretched by adding cream, butter, and potatoes. And before the Irish had potatoes, they ate porridge mixed with buttermilk, butter, and honey. The porridge and the potatoes are missing something essential and were not things to eat by themselves if you could possibly afford not to. Dairy products were considered absolute essentials throughout recorded Irish history, but if you read any of their history, you’ll be left with absolutely zero doubt: meat was what they considered the ideal food.
The “Spanish omelet” is quite similar to the draniki concept, and is still a popular dinner in Spanish homes today. It consists of six potatoes, six eggs, one whole onion, salt and about three cups of olive oil to fry it in.
The traditional corn tortilla has no fat in it, true, though it is fried in butter: but its purpose is to convey fat to you. It is traditionally used to wrap meat and/or eggs, to dip in mole sauce (made in many different styles, but always extremely high in fat from fresh bone broth and lard) or anything with avocado–nature’s little green fat bomb. Indian flatbreads, also fried in butter and usually made with egg, serve a similar purpose as you scoop up your butter, ghee, and yogurt-laded dishes.
Gruel, the ancient food of the poorest in Europe, was made with a tablespoon of groats or oatmeal and a pint of milk, or cream if at all possible. Did you notice those proportions? Which is the important thing in that recipe? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the oats. They’re just giving the pint of milk a little thickness and a little something more to lay on your stomach. This one died away–and no wonder. It’s disgusting. Its morphed cousin is the oatmeal some people still eat. That, too, was originally made with both butter and cream. Modern recipes in the US try to make it “healthy” by just using just hot water: which is why people prefer it in packages with lots of sugar and flavorings–or just go get sugar-laced Honey Bunches of Oats with 2% milk and call it a day.
Pasta is traditionally made with egg and served with butter sauce. Grits include gobs of heavy cream, butter, milk, and–when available–bacon fat. The term “hashed browned potatoes” was first used in 1900 in the USA, but recipes for them before that name was in print are far older. You can find them in old cookbooks. Four leftover cold, boiled potatoes are mixed with a cup of milk, a tablespoon each of butter and flour, and then boiled. Then they are fried in half a cup of clarified butter, which is then poured over the cakes and the whole thing baked.
If you doubt me, look all this up. But don’t look at modern recipes. You have to hunt for the old-fashioned, time-honored recipes that haven’t been messed up by modern, low-fat crazed Americans. This is the wisdom of your ancestors: they didn’t think grains and potatoes were health foods on their own. They knew that fat was desperately important, and since they couldn’t afford to just eat meat, they ate fat, stretching it with cheap carbohydrates when necessary.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2: Same bat-time, same bat-channel.
Plato says he’s hungry
Help us keep paying for this site and feeding the dogs.